Rep. Todd Akin's comments about "legitimate rape" are a "window" into his mind, his opponent, Sen. Claire McCaskill, said on Monday.
Although the Missouri Democrat lambasted the "jaw-dropping and stunning" comments by her Republican challenger, she said that it wasn't her place to call for Akin's removal from the ballot.
"It's not my place to decide," she said on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "It is the people of Missouri. I think the people of Missouri have to make this decision."
While McCaskill's campaign wanted to run against Akin, and took the rare step of spending money to help him win the primary, McCaskill said it would be a "radical move" if the Republican Party were to remove him.
"I really think that for the national party to try to come in here and dictate to the Republican primary voters that they're going to invalidate their decision, that would be pretty radical," she said. "I think there could be a backlash for the Republicans if they did that."
McCaskill said Akin's comments on Sunday struck a personal chord. "I spent ten years as a prosecutor in the courtroom and did hundreds and hundreds of rape cases, held their hands, cried with them," she said. "And that's why for me, this is incredibly painful because it shows how many people are out there — sometimes in very important positions — that just don't understand the trauma and don't understand what it means."
On Sunday, Akin told a local St. Louis television station that abortions weren't necessary because in cases of "legitimate rape," women can't get pregnant because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
Akin has since backed off his original comments, saying he "misspoke."
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.